Friday, July 22, 2016

Farmers Market Summer Vegetables Tian

In my last post I referred to the movie Ratatouille. Specifically, I mentioned that the consultant, Thomas Keller, had the rats prepare a much showier dish than a ratatouille. The rodents served a tian.

A tian is a stacked vegetable dish named after the traditional earthenware Provencal casserole used to cook it. has an outstanding modernized version that resembles the movie dish. But I'm going to do something a little different here.

I visited the Thursday farmers market in Eureka Springs. I came away with what they called candy onions, zucchini, eggplant, waxy potatoes, and tomatoes. My lovely wife grows many different herbs for us on our back deck. In this dish I will use lavender, sage, and thyme. The ingredient list also includes one large clove of garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Let's get started.


One and a half large sweet onions, sliced longitudinally in half inch slices
Five 2 to 3 inch diameter tomatoes
Four 2 to 3 inch diameter eggplants
Two zucchinis 
6 to 8 2 to 3 inch diameter waxy potatoes
Two Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
One cup shredded gruyere or other cheese
One large clove garlic, crushed and minced
One teaspoon fresh thyme leaves plus five sprigs
Four sage leaves
One sprig lavender
Salt and pepper to taste


Slice the onions and slowly caramelize them in 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a nonstick skillet. Do not salt or pepper them until nearly done, but be sure they are well seasoned. When they are done, add the garlic and cook another minute until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Remove the onions and garlic to the bottom of a casserole dish.

Using a chef knife, a santoku, a mandoline, or a V-slicer cut the vegetables into nearly equal thickness discs of about 1/8th inch.

Stack the vegetables in rotation and arrange them pleasingly in the casserole dish on top of the onions.  You can stand them on end or lay them over like fanned cards as you see fit.

Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the vegetables and salt and pepper them well.

Place the tied herb budle on the top of the vegetables and cover them.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the cover and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the surface with the cheese and return to the oven until the cheese melts and begins to brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest, uncovered for 10 minutes.

Serve with grilled meat and a red wine such as a Cote du Rhone. My personal favorite is a South African blend named Goats Do Roam.

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